International Wine Challenge 2018 awards more medals than ever before to English wines
Under embargo until 11am – 10/05/18
This year, English wines have been awarded an impressive 128 medals at the 2018 International Wine Challenge, significantly increasing on last year’s medal count.
Demonstrating how far England’s wine industry has progressed in recent years, England once again ranks in the International Wine Challenge’s top ten medal tally thanks to the 12 Golds, 58 silvers and 58 Bronzes.
An impressive 12 English wines were awarded Gold medals at this year’s competition, with all but one of those being awarded under the sparkling category. Scoring an impressive 96 points each were Cottonworth Sparkling Rose Vintage 2014, Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2010 and Nyetimber Classic Cuvee Magnum 2009.
The south and south-east of England continue to be the most impressive and prolific wine producing regions with Hampshire, Kent, and Sussex as the dominant three counties. However, this year saw Gold wins for Lyme Bay Winery in Devon and Camel Valley in Cornwall, both in the south-west, as well as a Gold medal for Harrow and Hope in the Thames Valley.
Nyetimber based in Sussex continues to be one to watch. Last year it was awarded two Gold medals. It’s now doubled on its efforts and has been duly recognised with four Golds: Blanc de Blancs 2010, Classic Cuvee Magnum 2009, Tillington Single Vineyard 2010, and Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage Magnum.
Overall, the fact that prestigious French Champagne brand Taittinger has planted a vineyard in Kent is the clearest signal yet that the climate – both economic and meteorological – is right for English sparkling wines.
Still wins for England
Lyme Bay Winery’s Chardonnay 2016 was the only still wine to achieve Gold medal success (interestingly the last still English wine to receive Gold was in 2011). Lyme Bay also did well with its Rosé, the Lyme Bay Pinot Noir Rosé 2017, which received a Silver medal.
There were 6 white wines which were awarded Silver medals including two Chardonnays, the Gusbourne Estate Guinevere Chardonnay 2014 and the Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Chardonnay 2015, and two Bacchus from 2016, one from Aldwick Court Farm and the other from Woodchester Valley. The final still white to be awarded a Silver was the Halfpenny Green – Long Acre 2016, made from a blend of Schönburger and Siegerrebe.
There were three notable English reds this year, each receiving Bronze medals. From Norfolk, Flint Vineyard’s Pinot Noir Précoce 2017 received a Bronze along with two entries from wineries in Kent: Gusbourne Estate Pinot Noir 2016 and Chartham Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016.
Denbies Wine Estate was awarded a silver for a sweet wine the Brokes Botrytis Ortega 2016.
Oz Clarke Co-chair at the International Wine Challenge commented:
“We are thrilled to see England’s continued success at IWC 2018. Without doubt, it’s a hugely exciting time for the industry and thanks to a combination of climate change, increased knowledge and more investment, English wines really are now flourishing. It is quite clear that England is now producing some of the best sparkling wines in the world.”
Besides its 12 Gold medals, English wines demonstrated a growing number of wines achieving ranking for Silver medals with 58 this year compared with 39 in 2017. In total, 58 Bronze medals were also awarded.
According to the Wines of Great Britain trade body, the number of acres planted with grapevines in England and Wales over the last decade has grown by 135%. Last year, in fact, UK wine producers combined planted a record 1 million vines, increasing production by 2 million more bottles of wine annually.